Notorious (1946) Film Review A+

Director: Alfred Hitchcock.
Produced by Alfred Hitchcock
Original Screenplay by: Ben Hecht.
Cinematography: Ted Tetzlaff.
Edited by: Theron Warth.
Original Score: Roy Webb.
Distributed by: RKO Pictures
Starring: Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Louis Calhern and Leopoldine Konstantin.
BOTTOM LINE: In order to help bring Nazis to justice, US government agent T.R. Devlin (Cary Grant) recruits Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman), the American daughter of a convicted German war criminal, as a spy. As they begin to fall for one another, Alicia is instructed to win the affection of Alexander Sebastian (Claude Rains), a Nazi hiding out in Brazil. When Sebastian becomes serious about his relationship with Alicia, the stakes get higher, and Devlin must watch her slip further undercover. A brilliant original screenplay by Ben Hecht, Ted Tetzlaff’s soaring crane shots (the key in Ingrid’s hand), and Roy Webb’s superb score all help to make “Notorious” another Hitchcock masterpiece. There is palpable chemistry between Grant and Bergman, making them one of the great Hollywood couples. Bergman did not make that many good movies, but, as in “Casablanca,” she is nothing short of magnificent when she finds herself in one, as is Grant. Together with “The Philadelphia Story” and “North by Northwest,” this is his crowning achievement. And Claude Rains? Incomparable! It is the greatest supporting performance of all time. Never has one felt more sympathy for the villain!
Hitchcock’s cameo: 1:04:44. At a party in Claude Rain’s mansion, drinking champagne. He leaves as Cary Grant enters. As the forties became the fifties, Hitch appeared earlier in the movie so as not to distract the viewer.
In fiction, a MacGuffin is an object, device, or event necessary to the plot and the characters’ motivation but insignificant, unimportant, or irrelevant in itself. The term was originated by Angus MacPhail for film, adopted by Hitchcock, and later extended to literature. The MacGuffin here is the Uranium in the cellar.
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